It seems London is experiencing a wave of random acid attacks by 'youths' (further identification is unspecified). So, what's the instinctive, automatic, knee-jerk response?
Ministers are coming under pressure to tighten the laws on the sale and possession of acid and other corrosive substances amid growing fears they have become the “weapon of choice” of teenagers.
Calls for changes to the law followed a spate of five acid attacks in the space of a little over an hour that left one victim with “life-changing” injuries.
. . .
Scotland Yard figures show the number of attacks using corrosive substances rose to 458, more than double the figure in 2014.
The Home Office said on Friday evening it was urgently working on an action plan to curb the use of acid, including restricting its sale to under-18s.
Campaigners told The Telegraph that crime gangs were switching to acid and ammonia because laws had been tightened on possession of knives.
Sulphuric acid at 91 per cent strength can be bought cheaply over the counter in shops and DIY stores as a drain unblocker. There is no age restriction for those buying it. Ammonia is similarly available.
. . .
Stephen Timms, a former Labour minister, called for tougher sentences, a new offence of carrying concentrated acid to be introduced and the licensing of its purchase.
Mr Timms, who will lead a debate in the Commons on Monday on the issue, said: “Carrying acid should in itself be an offence. Carrying a knife wouldn’t have been an offence some years ago. I think there’s been a pretty effective change – the same change should be made for acid.”
Mr Timms said that the law could be changed so as not to punish those buying the substances for legitimate use, such as drain cleaner, in the same way that people are not automatically criminalised for buying kitchen knives.
There's more at the link.
Of all the dumbass, stupid, unworkable responses, I suspect changing the law is close to the top! The attackers are already breaking the law. What makes anyone think that another law, or two, or three, or even a few dozen, will make them stop?
The stupidity on display is mind-boggling.
- Restrict the sale of acid to under-18's? Suuuuure . . . but when it's freely available at home (drain-cleaner), from professional plumbers and other businesses, and so on, that's not likely to pose much of an obstacle at all. Besides, all they have to do is have one older person buy a few pints (or gallons!) for the rest of the gang. For a bottle of booze, a hobo will likely oblige.
- "The law could be changed so as not to punish those buying the substances for legitimate use"? And just how can you prove their intentions are legitimate? A mind-reading machine, perhaps?
- Britain criminalized the carrying of knives some time ago - and inconvenienced everyone who used to carry a pocket-knife for perfectly legitimate purposes. As for not "automatically criminalizing those who buy kitchen knives" . . . let me assure you, given a typical 6" to 8" low-cost chef's knife, any moderately competent knife fighter can carve up something (or someone) almost faster than it takes to say it! Besides, what, precisely, will you do to stop people carrying acid? Stop everyone carrying a water bottle, and insist on checking its contents? Good luck with that!
I know a very good deterrent to such attacks. If convicted, those responsible should be sentenced to being doused with acid from head to toe, in public, and left to scream in agony for about five minutes before they're hosed down or receive medical treatment. I reckon that would stop this nonsense in no time at all - but they won't do that, because it'll be regarded as "inhumane". Really? Oh, well, then . . . if Britain won't take effective action, and impose effective punishments, it's going to go on enjoying these attacks. It's a simple enough equation - one the criminals understand very well.